Thursday, October 9, 2008

Know Your Fringe Parties XII -- The Canadian Action Party

The Canadian Action Party is, at its core, a Canadian Nationalist Party with a strong sense of Canada's global responsibilities. As a first principle, the CAP holds that Canada's potential domestically and internationally, will best be realised "by re-claiming and maintaining its political and economic sovereignty as an independent country." Citizens, in the CAP's vision, are paramount, and are best served by governing structures that are "flexible" and committed to the promotion of human dignity. As such, the CAP is steadfast in its opposition to "corporate rule" and the globalization agenda.

Under the stewardship of party leader Connie Fogal, between 2002 and 2008, the CAP has adopted, as it "ultimate aim," the promotion of a full-employment economy. This lofty and laudable goal stems from the CAP's insistence upon the "right to work." Under the heading "Our Vision," the CAP's internest site makes the case this way:

We believe that anyone who wants to work should be able to find employment at a wage that will allow self-sufficiency.

All political parties promise "jobs, jobs, jobs" without being able to deliver on the promise. What makes CAP different from all other parties is that we would use the Bank of Canada to finance full employment. We would increase spending and cut taxes enough to achieve a growth rate between 4 % and 5 % for four or five years until there are jobs for all.

Our ultimate aim is "full employment." Period! We believe that the right to gainful employment is a fundamental right and we will cooperate with the provinces and municipalities in the development of a form of "guaranteed annual work" to provide meaningful expression for people displaced by technology. The vast majority of unemployed Canadians want to work, be self-sufficient and part of their communities. Individuals will be given the opportunity for self-fulfillment while contributing to a higher quality of life for all.

Impediments to this goal of a full employment economy are to be found in our international trade agreements, according to the CAP. The Canadian Action Party, for instance, calls for the abrogation of NAFTA. According to the Party, trade agreements like the FTA (1988) and NAFTA (1993) compromise Canada's sovereignty and impinge upon Canada's control over its natural, mineral, and petroleum resources. (Okay, this does sound very similar to John Turner's argument during the 1988 federal election.) Indeed, the CAP is very suspicious of developments that could point to a future North American Union (vis the European Union).

The CAP describes its policies as "common sense and solution oriented." Their policies are as follows:

Monetary Control
The use of our Bank of Canada in the best interest of all Canadians and to maintain and enhance sovereignty.

The ability to make laws and decisions for Canadians by Canadians.

Civil and Human Rights
The restoration and fulfillment of our rights as originally intended under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Constitution.

Parliamentary Reform
The changes needed to bring our country to a state of complete interactive democracy, for the people, by the people.

Energy Freedom
Compel the release to the public and funding of existing alternate technology that can free us from a dependence on damaging fossil fuels. Moratorium on the use of depleted uranium.

Furthermore, the CAP advocates significantly increasing the funding for the National Arts Council as well as the CBC. While the CAP is not aloof to the concerns of many, many Canadians who have come to view the CBC as a relic (at best) and an institution of left-wing ideological hegemony (at worst), the CAP "believes that a vibrant CBC is a symbol of a vibrant Canada." But, the Party "would aim to make it a non-biased vehicle for our national voice reflecting all regions and views of Canada."

The Canadian Action Party has also taken a strong, almost Birkenstock, position against Canada's military role in Afghanistan. As early as September 2006, party leader Connie Fogal called for the immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops, declaring bluntly "Enough is enough!" and decrying the human costs, the lack of purpose, and the sublimation to an U.S.-driven agenda. And in a similar vein, in February 2008, the CAP endorsed the Nationwide Call to Action to "demand a Referendum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership," which Connie Fogal sees as transforming three independent and sovereign countries "into one regional corporate power base, through agreements like FTA, NAFTA, TILMA and now the SPP into a North American Union."

The Canadian Action Party is fielding 35 candidates in the 2008 campaign, unfortunately their roster does not seem to included Doug Plomb (CAP, Toronto Centre) who ran in the St. Patrick's Day bi-election earlier this year. Plomb -- a bit of a maverick, even in fringe party terms -- was hoping to affect a change in the CAP's view of man-made climate change. Plomb thinks it's a crock ("flim-flam" is his exact phrase).

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